Tuesday, November 6, 2012

Two more weeks hath passed...(from a 2 weeks ago now).

This blogger is not very good...this was posted 2 weeks ago, but due to technical difficulties we only found out today it hadn't been published :(

It has been another busy two weeks since we last blogged. The weekend of the 12th we made our way back to Southwest Bay with two wheelchairs, a pressure mattress, and a toilet frame. As we mentioned, we were going to carry two wheelchairs down there. Our police friend, Anson, organised the police truck to pick all of us up and happened to be going down to Southwest Bay too. So we took a ride in the police truck. After that we met the boat back at Lambumbu on the western side of Malekula and went down to Southwest Bay. There were two people that we needed to see. One was a 19 year old boy who we measured up last time we went to SWB and another an older woman. We rested for a short time and that afternoon we discovered that the one wheelchair’s tyres needed to be pumped up. So we decided to carry the pressure mattress and the toilet frame that afternoon and sort out pumping up the tyres the next day since we asked around that afternoon for a bicycle pump but no one had one. The next day, we sought out for another bicycle pump and then our host family told us that a New Zealand man who has a nice built-up house with a farm had a compressor. This place was over a small estuary to a lagoon. So we took the one wheelchair on a boat to this house and filled it up with a compressor. On the way back we took the luxury of an outrigger canoe. Eventually we set up the wheelchair for the woman which took about 2 hours. We also learned that this woman had been bed bound for 4 years and had only been outside to wash. A small crowd had gathered when we were fitting her into the wheelchair and some children were around. They were probably about 4 years old. The woman was asking “Who do these children belong to?” She had never seen them before because she had never left her house. It was a real blessing to give her some mobility back. After, we had lunch we set to work on fitting the other chair to the 19 year old (including taking the wheels off in order to reach some other adjustments). After a hot 3.5 hours - let’s just say we enjoyed the swim in the calm waters afterwards! We had to make a few adjustments and check with each family if they were comfortable over the next few days. After this, we came back on the boat on the Monday having spent some time relaxing as well.

Last Friday, there was another fundraising for the uniforms for their youth group. Some of the mums in the village had cooked some cake and bread that they were selling, and there was entertainment called Fancy hour. This form of entertainment is similar to busking where people get up and perform a dance or a song. People put money into a bucket and may choose to put something on the person performing as a way of making fun with them. You can also pay money in the bucket to get someone from the audience to dance with the people on the stage by pulling them up. Alicja, however, did not get pulled up but willingly volunteered to dance with the youth.

Last Saturday,we went with Pastor Collen, our host family, and some of our friends went to Tisman - the area where Pastor Collen grew up. It was a very long truck ride, taking 2 hours to travel 30 kms with 5 river crossings. The roads south of Lakatoro (where it is built up), are not in a very good condition and in some places, equivalent to 4wd’ing. We saw a child there with a disability in a neighbouring village who needed a pram and baby chair. So we set him up with the help of some of our travel companions. After we had fitted this pram, we went to Collen’s home village. We met his parents and ate lunch there. After lunch, we climbed back into the 4wd and swam in the river closest to his house. It was a very good temperature. It was a very good day, and when we came back that night, we were presented with a dinner on behalf of the young adults of the church. We were also presented with some gifts...they are starting to pile up nicely, so we have paid another bag on Virgin that we can put it all in and give to customs back in Australia to have a look at.

In the past two weeks, Alicja has run two workshops: one for parents and another for teachers of Kindergarten, class one and class 2. This was just explaining some methods in which parents and teachers can help students to learn their alphabet, numbers, and colours. We think that these workshops were very helpful as there was lots of positive feedback at the end. Gareth has run two sessions (one each for class 5 and 6) of how to research using a library. It was pretty much a treasure hunt with 4 groups making a rotation on dictionaries, encyclopaedias, the computer, and the non-fiction shelf. The students particularly love using the computer to look up things on ‘Encarta kids’. We had a group of about 8 boys looking up videos on bobsledding, skateboarding, and a frilled neck lizard. It was a blessing to hear their laughter and amazement at things that they have never heard of before.

On Monday we went to Lakatoro where some of the kids in the school were attending a march for Lakatoro Sports opening day funded by ‘Save the Children’, an organisation promoting children’s rights. There was a group from the Seventh Day Adventist church called “Pathfinders” (which is similar to scouts but with a Christian focus) who led the march. It was a whole day program with games such as tug of war, quizzes, and a big lunch.

On Thursday we went to Kid’s Prayer Warriors where we were presented with a couple of gifts. This is a great ministry of the church where it encourages children to pray for various things around the world and closer to their home. At the beginning, we made a couple of suggestions to help the kids pay attention and maintain the kids’ interest. We only went there two or three times at the most but they were still very appreciative.

It is coming close up to the presidential election here and there is plenty of political talk going on at the moment. They don’t have TV to advertise or radio that has coverage to broadcast, so the islander method of broadcasting ‘The Good News’ of their party is by truck where they have a megaphone on the back and yell out. Quite a few times, we have heard them drive past on the road yelling out with cheering, chanting and singing hymns.

Today was our last official day at school, and so we have got a photo below of that. One thing that everyone likes over here are photos. We know that you all back home like photos too, so here they are.

Louis in SW Bay

The still waters of SW bay provide ample opportunity for canoeing and swimming


Mother's Workshop

Pastor Collen with his parents

Swimming in the one river crossing

The travel crew minus Ansen, Ps Collen and Judy.

Youth dinner with gifts

Tautu Primary School participating in the march

School transport: Who did the risk assessment? Answer: "What is a risk assessment?"

The whole school with teachers and two white people.

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